You (and your partner) created a new life.
You watched your body change in 9 months, like you were watching a movie on fast forward.
It should have been a magical time. It should have been a time to soak it all up and embrace your changing body.
Yet, you felt like you should not put on too much weight. You felt like you should eat ‘this’ and not ‘that’.
You felt quite confused and anxious about whether you were feeding your body and growing fetus the ‘right’ food.
Mothers’ guilt set in pretty fast and your baby wasn’t even born.
The pre and post-natal time is a confusing time for many mums. Being a mother is a confusing time.
I think this confusion is unfortunately the new norm.
Please stop. Take a big deep breath. Take a couple more. Get yourself something to drink. Sit down and read the rest of this post.
You are absolutely amazing!
Congratulations on creating a new life. Congratulations on growing a tiny human. Congratulations on the birth of your baby!
No really congratulations!!
You’ve probably heard it a thousand times…..But, did you really hear the congratulations and how amazing you are?
I want to share with you why you need to lose the preoccupation with losing the ‘baby weight’.
Please don’t feel bad if you feel the need to lose the ‘baby weight’. I don’t think you would be human living in our culture today, if losing the ‘baby weight’ didn’t cross you mind at least once.
Is Losing the ‘Baby Weight’ Avoiding a Deeper Issue?
I want to tell you, I too heard all of the above, but I didn’t really hear it. I wish someone sat me down like I am with you and had this chat with me, because losing the ‘baby weight’ is a metaphor for other things in life; Other concerns; Other issues.
Losing the ‘baby weight’ mentality fuels perfectionistic tendencies, which I, like so many other mums slip into from time to time. This only ever ends badly. There is no such thing as ‘perfect’, being perfect, eating perfectly or being the perfect mum. Perfect can never be achieved, yet we strive for perfection and feel if we are less than perfect we are not worthy enough.
I wish for you to slow down.
Enjoy your baby. Yes, that’s right, babies aren’t small for long…This is such an overused saying, but it is so very true.
It’s hard to be mindful in the moment when you’ve been vomited on and felt like all you’ve done is fed your baby for the whole day. It will not last.
Caring for you and your baby is an excellent reason to slow down.
Caring for yourself is more important than losing the ‘baby weight’.
Losing the ‘baby weight’ is not caring for yourself.
If you don’t take good care of yourself, it makes it really hard to care for your baby…Really hard. It’s hard enough when you are managing sleep deprivation, life and questioning who you are as a mother, partner, friend, daughter, sister and aunty.
Please ease up on yourself.
Losing the ‘Baby Weight’ is Harmful
The pursuit of losing the ‘baby weight’ is not worth it. The pursuit of losing the ‘baby weight’ can make you heavier and physically and mentally unhealthy.
Acknowledge this feeling of needing to or ‘should’ lose the baby weight.
Continue to go about your day keeping the big picture in mind. The big picture of needing to get through the often crazy baby days meeting you and your baby needs…and your family’s needs too!
How to Eat Well
Eating well is the basis of good self-care.
At times, you’ve probably forgotten to eat, because you are so busy with your baby. I get it, I’ve been there.
Practise checking in with your body to see how it feels each time you feed your baby.
Are you thirsty? Are you hungry? Are you tired? Do you need some fresh air? Do you need to move your body? Or do you just need a hug or another adult to talk to?
Then, respond accordingly to what your body is asking of you. This is meeting your basic nutrition and self-care needs.
This is being intuitive and mindful. Eat intuitively and mindfully.
This is how to nourish yourself, your baby, your family and enjoy food. It is so hard to enjoy food when you are trying to lose the ‘baby weight’.
Eating well is how you will start to feel like you again. This is how you will be the best role model for your baby and your family.
You Don’t Need to ‘Lose the Baby Weight’
You don’t need to change your body. You don’t need to lose the ‘baby weight’.
Your body is different now. It may not feel like yours at the moment. It will soon enough. Embrace all your curves, the stretch marks and saggy skin.
This is the ‘real’ mum body.
You don’t have to love it or even like it. Practise accepting and respecting it though.
Your self-worth is not associated with how you look.
You and your family’s relationship with food and body is so much more important than how you look.
Focus on how you feel.
Your body will settle at its new shape, size and weight when you leave it to its own devices and it may not be what you had in mind. This is ok. You can still be healthy. Weight or weight loss does not equal health.
Please remember, your baby thinks the world of you. You are good enough. You are worthy just the way you are.
Congratulations, you made a tiny human!
For support around improving your relationship with food and your body, CLICK HERE to download the free guide ‘How to Stay Focused to Never Dieting Again’. This guide is for you if you are just starting out on your non-dieting journey or if you have been non-dieting for some time, but feel the need to lose the ‘baby weight’.
Natalie Thompson APD
Natalie Thompson is a non-dieting Accredited Practising Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviours to help improve health whilst nurturing relationships with food and body.
Natalie enjoys helping women, particularly mums who struggle with nutrition and body image and worry about the impact they have on their children discover the joy in eating and make peace with food and their beautiful body whilst being the role model they imagine for their children, focusing on compassionately nourishing the mind, body and spirit of themselves and their children.
Connect with Natalie via her website https://delectabledietetics.wordpress.com and on social media.